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Report: Shelby ‘top earmarker’ in appropriation bills

As Congress attempts to pass a bipartisan omnibus spending bill to fund the government before the end of the year, Alabama’s retiring senator made sure it included a lot of money for his state.

It was announced yesterday that top negotiators in Congress agreed to bipartisan framework agreement for a full-year $1.7 trillion funding bill for the remainder of fiscal 2023.

The funding package includes more than 7,500 earmarks totaling $16 billion.

According to Bloomberg Government, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa) is the “top earmarker” in the FY2023 appropriation bills.

Shelby, the vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, will have 17 projects totaling $656.4 million. This gives Shelby the most earmarked funds for the second year in a row. The earmarks include $200 million for the Alabama State Port Authority, $100 million for Department of Transportation work on the Woolsey Finnell Bridge over the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa, and $76 million for the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Medicine.

The senator told Bloomberg News he hopes the lawmakers will be able to come to some kind of deal before next year because he won’t be around to renegotiate a new deal.

“I’ll be gone. I’ll be cutting the grass and running errands for my wife,” Shelby said. “They’d start all over. I wouldn’t get anything.”

One potential hurdle for getting a deal done before the end of the year comes from House Republicans, and Minority leader Kevin McCarthy has come out against the deal saying, “Why would you want to work on anything if we [don’t] have the gavel inside Congress?”

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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